On February 26 Heritage Auctions held session 1 of a signature auction held in conjunction with the PNG Invitational Show in Dallas, Texas. In this article we will take a look at some of the results of that sale. Some of the coins were discussed in our preview article, while one had a surprise result that surpassed any possible presale estimate we might have had. Please note that all prices mentioned include a 17.5% buyers premium.
The first coin we will discuss was offered as lot 3065, a 1916-D Mercury Dime certified by PCGS in an old rattler (first-generation) holder as MS66FB. The coin, also stickered by CAC, brought a record-breaking $94,000. While some of the finest known MS67FB graded coins of this classic key-date have realized over six figures in the past this is the first time that an MS66FB graded coin approached that level. The coin is considered the classic key-date in the Mercury Dime series, with a production run that halted at just 264,000 coins, making it a rare coin in any grade. At the premium gem uncirculated level it is one of the true rarities of 20th century American numismatics.
Lot 3246 was a very rare 1867 Proof Ten Dollar Gold Piece, graded PR64+ Cameo, one of just 50 Proof pieces of this year produced. The coin, the finest known of this date in proof format and stickered by CAC, brought $64,625. This result shows that 19th century Proof gold is still going strong, which should not be a surprise thanks to the rarity of such pieces. Even though records show that 50 pieces were struck in Proof format, this coin is just as rare as some of the other dates in the series, some of which had as few as two dozen coins struck in proof format. If population figures are accurate there are no more than perhaps a dozen Proof Eagles of this date in existence, and even that number might be exaggerated.
Another gold coin that realized a strong price was lot 3222, the second finest known 1802/1 $5 gold piece, certified MS64+ by PCGS. While it’s a small miracle that any gold coin of that era survived in such a grade this piece certainly did, and it is perhaps one of the most appealing products of the Philadelphia Mint dating back to the early 19th century. All 1802 Half Eagles were struck from obverse dies that were dated 1801, which had been prepared the previous year but never put to use as no Half Eagles were struck at the Philadelphia Mint in 1801. Curiously enough all 1803 half eagles were struck with obverse dies previously dated 1802, which means that additional dies were prepared in 1802 that were never used.
One earth-shattering result was lot 3029, the second finest known 1872 Three Cent Silver Business Strike, graded MS67 by PCGS and stickered by CAC. The coin had previously appeared in October of 2014, when it realized $18,800 at auction. Now, in a new holder, the coin realized $54,050. One of just 1,000 business strikes produced of this coin, this was the last Three Cent Silver struck for circulation, with the last Proofs struck the following year. It had been replaced by the Three Cent Nickel as early as 1865, even through production of the silver version continued for almost another decade, for no apparent reason, as the denomination was not all that popular, and would be discontinued altogether after 1889.
The last coin we would like to mention was another strong result, lot 3016, the finest known (without Cameo designation) 1858 Large Letters Proof Flying Eagle Cent. One of approximately 100 Proofs struck, the coin was graded PR66 by PCGS, and realized $44,650. Of the original Proof mintage it is estimated that at most half are known to today’s collecting community, with the others lost or mishandled. The 1858 Proof Flying Eagle Cent is generally considered the scarcest Proof date of this type, even though most attention goes toward the 1856 Pattern issue. In reality, about 2,000 coins were struck of that date, mostly proofs, and 1856 Proof Flying Eagle Cents are more often encountered than the 1857 and 1858 Proofs combined.
Overall this auction saw strong results, especially compared to some of the previous auctions that we have covered so far. The next auction and show, the Portland ANA held next week, should show whether or not that is a trend that will continue as spring comes around.